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International criminal syndicates behind rhino poaching in South Africa: WWF

(Xinhua)

10:28, January 13, 2012

CAPE TOWN, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Sophisticated international criminal syndicates are behind the mounting poaching of rhinos in South Africa, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has said.

To end poaching of rhinos, Investigators need to do more to take down the kingpins of rhino poaching syndicates, CEO of WWF-South Africa Dr Morne du Plessis said on Thursday.

"It is not enough to bust the little guy - investigators need to shut down the kingpins organizing these criminal operations," he said.

The syndicates have capitalized on an increased demand for rhino horn in Asia, the WWF claimed.

Also on Thursday, the authorities at South Africa' s Kruger National Park announced that rangers killed two suspected poachers and arrested two others in an operation on Wednesday.

"Our rangers were conducting a routine anti-poaching operation on Wednesday night when they came across suspected poachers," said park spokesman Reynold Thakuli. "A gunfight ensued and two of them were shot dead."

He said the others managed to flee, and that they were suspected to have escaped across the border to Mozambique.

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